Georgia Southern University Swimmers Release Statement about 2018 Racial Slur

Members of the Georgia Southern University Women’s Swimming and Diving Team have penned an apology and a statement of solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.

A number of college swimmers and programs have issued statements in the wake of ongoing national and global protests for social justice following the killing of unarmed black man George Floyd in Minneapolis just over a month ago.

The statement from the Georgia Southern athletes is of particular note after an incident 2 years ago where a member of the program’s women’s swimming & diving team sent a text message with a racial slur to her future roommate, who is Black.

The text message, sent by then-rising senior Courtney Schaefer, contained the N-word. Schaefer said that the text was about her future roommate, but was meant for someone else, and that she meant to use the word “triggerish,” but that her phone auto-corrected the word. Screenshots of the text messages were posted on Twitter.

At the time, the story made national news and resulted in a “sit-in” at the team’s first meet of the 2018-2019 season, with many students saying that they believed Schaefer should have been removed from the team.

“We recognize that what this teammate said was incredibly hurtful and wrong,” the statement says. “As a group, we are especially ashamed and apologetic of the actions our University failed to take regarding this issue. Moving forward, we resolve to fight against injustice during current and future times to ensure a situation like this never occurs again. Such actions will never again be tolerated within our program; racism will never again be tolerated within our program. We will not condone any singular form of racism or hate speech within our team and within our community.”

The lead on the statement was taken by Georgia Southern’s current rising-senior class, who were sophomores at the time. While those swimmers were not allowed by the athletics department to speak to SwimSwam about the letter, designated representatives from the class that recently exhausted their eligibility did expound upon the statement.

“The members of our team all feel strongly about this incident and the support of diversity and decided it was time to take matters into our own hands,” Elizabeth Chemey said. “Our goal is to set the standard for an inclusive culture on our team and show that as members of this team we are sorry for what happened and want to do better within our program and within the community.”

Chemey says that the letter, which is signed “The Georgia Southern University Women’s Swimming and Diving Team,” represents the voice of “the entire team, past and present.”

“With the current news surrounding police brutality and the Black Lives Matter movement, the senior class decided that enough was enough,” Chemey said. “It became clear that if we wanted changes to be made, we had to be the ones to advocate for them, particularly because of the inaction by our university and athletic department. We are embarrassed to have stayed silent about this issue for this long and felt that as Seniors it is our responsibility to incite change within our program and department. We had no control over what happened with our former teammate during the incident, so we want to push for changes to be made that will not allow anything like this to occur again. Collectively, the Senior Class came together to write the statement with the support of the rest of our team.”

The full statement is below:

The full Georgia Southern statement (click to enlarge)

Georgia Southern University is a public school located in Statesboro, Georgia, where 41% of the population identified as African-American or Black on the 2010 census. The state of Georgia had 32.6% of its population identify as “Black or African American alone” at the 2010 census. According to Forbes Magazine, 25.8% of the school’s student-body was African-American during the 2017-2018 fiscal year.

Chemey said that they had not had any contact with Schaefer during the process of developing the statement.

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exswimcoach
1 year ago

triggerish isn’t even a word!

PARTICIPANT RIBBON
Reply to  exswimcoach
1 year ago

Yeah, that’s a tough one to walk back for sure.

Hank Monroe
Reply to  exswimcoach
1 year ago

Should try BING, not as corrupt as Google when it comes to search results.

612
Reply to  exswimcoach
1 year ago

Smart phones will remember & auto type words that you use consistently enough.

Bearly Breathing
1 year ago

Looks like this story gives a new meaning to the phrase “being triggered”.

I expect this comment on SwimSwam will come back to haunt me during my future presidential campaign.

Aperson
1 year ago

GUS is a public university.

GA Boy
1 year ago

Not the GA way. Terrible act of racism. It hurts the heart to look back and see that. Good for those lady’s to make this statement and show clear solidarity!

SWIMGUY12345
Reply to  GA Boy
1 year ago

This is actually EXACTLY the typical Georgia way. This is your average Georgian outside of metro ATL.

GA Boy
Reply to  SWIMGUY12345
1 year ago

Idk where you’re from, but I swim for one of the most diverse teams in USA swimming, we aren’t in metro Atlanta. I go to a high school that’s about 1/3 white, it’s not in metro Atlanta. Don’t talk about what you don’t know. The outlying racists do not speak for our entire state. Stereotyping is dangerous, how bout you go experience the whole world and see it’s a little different than twitter and CNN…..

SWIMGUY12345
Reply to  GA Boy
1 year ago

1. I’m from GA. I grew up in metro ATL.
2. I’ve been too many parts of this state for grad school.
3. You can think whatever you want. Georgia’s voting history speaks for itself.

SWIMGUY12345
Reply to  GA Boy
1 year ago

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=5Q1cfjh6VfE

Reminder that this is our governor. Can you even vote yet? Lol

GA Boy
Reply to  SWIMGUY12345
1 year ago

Tell me one racist part about that video…. I’ll wait. I don’t see how it’s racist to want to decrease government spending and protect your second amendment right. And I I’m assuming that you’re assuming that illegals only refers to Hispanics, that makes you racist because he clearly said nothing against Hispanics but only people who are here illegally. To disagree with his political beliefs is fine, I certainly do. But this has zero correlation to racism, discrimination, etc. and I will continue to state that if you’re only been to bigger cities around Georgia then you have been to ones that are controlled by Democrats. That does show a direct correlation. Study up big dawg you’re liking mighty underprepared… Read more »

GA Boy
Reply to  GA Boy
1 year ago

In addition to that, I don’t understand the desire to take a completely positive remark that I made and make our state and, in doing so, yourself look bad. What did it get you? Why can’t you except that most people want things to be better and are working towards betterment?

Bearly Breathing
Reply to  GA Boy
1 year ago

Get a room you two.

Justin Thompson
Reply to  GA Boy
1 year ago

Atwoods comments aside, there is a lot of wasteful/ poorly managed spending at the govt level. I’m not sure how one could dispute that. Even Obama called out wasteful spending and he was big on government backed programs.

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  GA Boy
1 year ago

The dude is the king of voter suppression. And he sure as f wasn’t suppressing the white vote. So study up when you graduate from high school. https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/02/brian-kemp-enjoyed-suppressing-votes.html

Irish Ringer
Reply to  Ol' Longhorn
1 year ago

Hard to say if following the voting rules had any impact according to Politifact. https://www.politifact.com/article/2019/nov/21/no-proof-voter-suppression-kept-stacey-abrams-gove/

SWIMGUY12345
Reply to  Braden Keith
1 year ago

Obviously it’s all theoretical Braden. But do you think it helped Stacy Abrams or Brian Kemp more? Do you think it helped the candidate who did the voter suppressing or the candidate who had nothing to do with it?

I don’t think it’s that difficult to see. Voter suppression was in full force just these past elections. But I digress, you all can think what you want.

And GA BOY please don’t ever tell me study up little man. For someone who tells people not to assume, you sure do a lot of it.

SWIMGUY12345
Reply to  GA Boy
1 year ago

OH, maybe you swim for Carpet Capital. Dalton has a pretty large Hispanic population.

Ohwell
Reply to  GA Boy
1 year ago

Also she’s from PA lol

Jimbo
1 year ago

Chief that isn’t how autocorrect works

Floater
1 year ago

Unfortunate that the statement had to included an incident that happened several years ago. Just make a statement if you really think one is needed and leave the past in the past.
#Trump2020

torturedswimfan
Reply to  Floater
1 year ago

Floater – I’d love to hear your thought process behind this comment.

Are you *offended* that you had to read it? Why are you *offended* that you had to read it? Are you a snowflake?

They’re not tearing down a statue. They’re bringing up an incident that happened WHEN THEY WERE MEMBERS OF THE TEAM that they don’t think their school handled correctly and trying to hold their own department accountable. That seems like a perfectly appropriate use of a statement.

Why are you so afraid of people TALKING about what happened in the past? Isn’t the Trumpian argument that the statues are important reminders of history? Why are you suddenly keen to not discuss that history? Because it… Read more »

Floater
Reply to  torturedswimfan
1 year ago

They should have taken a stand when the incident happened. Show love and compassion for all people. 🙏🏻 I

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  Floater
1 year ago

#BeBest. lol

Floater
Reply to  torturedswimfan
1 year ago

Guess LoT wasn’t that bad. 🤣 #GATA

Shirley Mireault
1 year ago

My daughter was on that swim team for her first 3 years of college. I agreed with her request to leave the team in the fall of her senior year because of her frustrations with the coach, not her fellow swimmers. She is a mixed race woman but did not mention any incidents of a racial nature. Later when her sister in law looked for a college she recommended Georgia Southern where she then went on and completed her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. She is even darker skinned and reported no problems there. I feel that was an incident by one student only and there is not ingrained racial problems there. In her 4 years there my daughter did not… Read more »

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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